Book Review: Collegiate: 7 Big Ideas to Make College Awesome

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

In this review, we take a look at a book that is not technically for parents, but for their students. Reading this book may give parents a clearer vision of college, but the true benefit of this book is as a gift for your student.

When we first considered the book Collegiate: 7 Big Ideas to Make College Awesome, we’ll admit to being skeptical. The book is small, has simple graphics, and was written by two college students. How much wisdom can two college students share? The answer is – a surprising amount.

Collegiate would make a great gift for any student heading to college. The book is written, as the authors put it, “from the trenches” by “two regular college dudes” who share what they’ve learned through their college journey. The book is written by students for students and is filled with stories and anecdotes, and sometimes the mistakes, with which students can identify. It isn’t preachy and full of practical study tips by the adults who know better, it is filled with advice from students who’ve lived it – more recently than the rest of us.

Read moreBook Review: Collegiate: 7 Big Ideas to Make College Awesome


A Summer Reading List for Parents of High School and College Students

Parenting is hard work.  Those of us who have been parents for a while know how difficult it can be.  And as parents, we sometimes seek advice from the “experts,” whether those experts are our friends, our own parents, our medical providers, our counselors, or the authors who write books. Remember reading all those books before your baby was born?

We all need a little advice – and a little perspective.

There are lots of great books (and blogs like this one!) out there to help parents as they approach and live through the college admission process and the college years. We’ve reviewed more than thirty of them and we think many of them provide parents important guidance and food for thought. You can read some when your student heads to college, but we suggest that you start even earlier.  Many of these books help you help your child to start laying the foundation for future success.

So we’re offering a summer reading list of our current top ten favorite books.  Start here. Click on the titles to read our reviews. Pick the ones that speak to you. Read one or two or three. Share them – with a friend or with your student. Form a book club.  Start conversations.

Read moreA Summer Reading List for Parents of High School and College Students


Book Review: Countdown to College: The Essential Steps to Your Child’s Successful Launch

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

The subtitle of the book Countdown to College says a lot about the book. The Essential Steps to Your Child’s Successful Launch lets the reader know immediately that the book is going to provide a step by step approach to facing what often seems like an overwhelming process.

One of the important and relatively unique things about this book is that it covers a period in the college process which is often overlooked.  Much has been written about how to engage in a successful admission process as well as how to succeed during the freshman year of college.  Countdown to College does this, but it does more.

Countdown to College fills the important gap that occurs in between these two phases. What happens after the college acceptance letter arrives and before your student’s move-in day?  This book takes parents and students through those important months of preparation in an organized, step-by-step approach. As the author states, “The process is not finished when the admission decisions have arrived.  On the contrary, a new array of tasks awaits both of you.  The stark reality is that many if not most families encounter problems they have not anticipated but could have avoided.” Countdown to College can help families avoid many of these unanticipated situations.

Read moreBook Review: Countdown to College: The Essential Steps to Your Child’s Successful Launch


Book Review: Generation Z: A Century in the Making

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Generation Z: A Century in the Making is the third book written by Corey Seemiller and Meghan Grace about this important generation of students who are our current college, high school, and middle schoolers.  We’re just getting to know this generation, but they are our kids, and we’re surrounded by them – at home and now at work.  The more we understand them as a generation, the better our relationships will be.  We’ve reviewed Seemiller and Grace’s first book, Generation Z Goes to College, but we think this one is important as well.

Generation Z, as defined in this book, includes those students born between 1995 and 2010.

Much like Generation Z Goes to College, this book begins with an overview of generations leading up to Generation Z.  As parents, we can find our own generation, or perhaps the generations of our older children and our own parents, to give context to the discussion of Generation Z.   Holding the mirror up to ourselves can be an interesting exercise!  We like, too, the explanation of how world developments have helped to shape each generation, with a focus on the technology of the time, the societal events, and family relationships.   We understand our students better when we remember those world events which shaped their childhoods, and when we remember that our generation has created the society into which they are born.

Read moreBook Review: Generation Z: A Century in the Making


‘Tis the Season! 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your College Student – 2018

It’s that time of year again.  Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday.  We’re thinking about family and friends and we’re thinking about gifts.  If you have a college student, or an about-to-be college student, you may be searching for some ideas for useful or fun gifts.

You know your student best, and can tap into interests and needs, but we’d like to offer some suggestions that may stimulate your imagination. We have ten new suggestions for 2018, but we’ve offered some suggestions in the past.  Don’t stop with this post! Check out our  Resources tab for nearly 100 additional suggestions.  There’s something for everyone there!

Check out our ideas, and then let your own creativity take over!  If you have additional suggestions, share them in the comments!

Read more‘Tis the Season! 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your College Student – 2018


Book Review – There Is Life After College

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

The problem with There Is Life After College, by Jeffrey Selingo, is the title.  This sounds like a good book for a college senior to pick up for after graduation advice.  The subtitle helps: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow. If parents and students take time to read the subtitle, they will understand that this is a book that should be read well before college graduation.  It is a book that both parents and students should read, and talk about together, while they are in high school – and then again several times during college.

One of the things we like about There Is Life After College is that it is a book for everyone.  High school students should read it to understand that, as the author states, “What you do in college is more important than where you go to college.” During that stressful college decision time, students would do well to think about how they plan to maximize their experience at the colleges they are considering.  College students and recent graduates should consider, “To thrive in your career, don’t treat college or your job as a spectator sport.” As parents read There Is Life After College, they should think about their student’s strengths and challenges.  The many specific descriptions in the book will help them to understand, and then motivate, their student. Parents will also be reminded that the world of college and career today is not the world they entered.

Read moreBook Review – There Is Life After College


Book Review – Off to College

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

There are many good books out there for college parents and we recommend several of them.  But Off to College: A Guide for Parents by Roger H. Martin is a bit different.  Dr. Martin has served as a professor and college president, but more important than his titles is the inside view he has taken of the freshman year.  For an earlier book, Dr. Martin spent some time as a college freshman (a good reading experience on its own), but for this book he spent time visiting several colleges – talking to professors, staff members, administrators and many college students. Off to College shares an insider’s look at how college works.

Read moreBook Review – Off to College


It’s a Special Season for Parents: Graduation and Gifts!

Graduation is a special season for your student – and for you!  Whether your student is graduating from high school or from college, the event marks a milestone.  Your student is proud, you are proud, and everyone should celebrate. This is an achievement worthy of praise and of celebrating accomplishments – and the future.

For many families, graduation also means gifts, and many parents stress over finding just the right gift for this big occasion.  We’d like to share a few thoughts – and then offer some help to get your creative juices flowing as you try to think of the perfect gift.

What should you think about as you decide on a gift?

  • Of course, gifts of money are always appreciated. This is especially true if you know there is something that your student would like that might be a big expense, or something that you know your student would like to pick out himself.  Cash is always welcome.
  • As you think about a gift, think about everything that you know about your student. What does she love?  What are her interests?  What kinds of things excite her or are especially meaningful to her?  You know your student better than anyone.  Build on that knowledge to make your gift especially personal.
  • Think about the transition that your student is making. What’s next?  If your student is finishing high school, will he go on to college, living on his own, a new job, technical school?  If your student is graduating from college, is he going on to graduate school, career, a first apartment?  Find a gift that speaks to that new phase in his life.
  • Perhaps you’d like to focus on something commemorative and lasting. Something that your student will cherish and that will always show your pride in him.
  • You might like to aim for something sentimental. Perhaps there is something from childhood or a gift that represents earlier generations of the family.  You might share a piece of family jewelry or a treasured family heirloom.
  • And nothing can be more personal than a handwritten letter from you expressing your pride, your dreams for your student’s future, and your love.

Read moreIt’s a Special Season for Parents: Graduation and Gifts!


Book Review: A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success by Amy Baldwin and Brian Tietje should be on every parent’s reading list at the time their student starts high school.  It takes time to get a student ready for college and this book guides parents through the process.  Don’t wait until your student is ready to head to college.

In the race to college that the high school years have become, it is easy for parents to become overwhelmed and not know where to start or how to fit in.  We like that this book presents twelve essentials for parents to focus on.  No overwhelm here.  Twelve skills for parents to help their students develop.  Twelve skills that will prepare a student to start college on the right foot and then keep him headed in the right direction.

Read moreBook Review: A High School Parent’s Guide to College Success


Book Review: Your Freshman Is Off to College

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

There is a lot to like about Laurie Hazard and Stephanie Carter’s Your Baby Freshman Is Off to College. Written for parents as a month-by-month guide to the first year of college, the book clearly reflects the expertise and experience of the authors’ day-to-day interactions with first-year college students.

Read moreBook Review: Your Freshman Is Off to College


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